Even older cars have a warning light to tell you when the gas tank is getting low. Ignore that little light and you risk a hazardous situation that could have been easily fixed. Running out of gas is not only inconvenient; it’s also dangerous. No one wants to break down on the road, especially when you could have simply filled up the gas tank. You may not have extensive repair bills from running out of gas, but it could put you in a bad situation.
Your body may not have a visible warning light that it’s running on empty, but it does tell you when you’re not taking care of yourself. Here are seven symptoms that indicate you are overdoing it and need some self-care:
- You get annoyed easily. Everything bothers you.
- You have difficulty sleeping.
- You feel overwhelmed all the time.
- You run late all the time.
- You forgot the last time you did nothing.
- You aren’t doing healthy things for yourself like exercising, cooking, sleeping enough or going to the doctor.
- You feel guilty for taking a day off.
If you’ve really neglected self-care, you could be experiencing depression and anxiety. You may feel fatigued and drained. Your memory could be affected. You may want to get professional help to get back to a better place.
Self-Care Is Different For Everyone
You may enjoy a round of golf, but your best friend might find it excruciating. Self-care is very personal. Psychology Today says, “Self-care is care provided for you, by you.” It’s doing those activities that nurture you and keep you healthy. That’s going to look much different for each person.
Self-care isn’t something you can do once every two or three months and expect to be okay. Self-care is a daily commitment to yourself to take a few moments and enjoy life. These activities aren’t always about personal aspects of your life. You may do things professionally that help you work more effectively.
It takes a lot of energy to get through your day. Taking care of yourself physically keeps you healthy and lets you keep up with your commitments. Here are some steps for your physical self-care routine:
- Get enough sleep.
- Eat healthy.
- Get exercise.
- Use your sick leave and vacation time.
- Go for a walk during your lunchtime.
- Keep up with annual doctor visits.
Emotional and Psychological Self-Care
If you want to be more clear-headed and less overwhelmed, you have to take care of yourself mentally. Need ideas?
- Spend time with family and friends.
- Get a hobby.
- Unplug from work and electronics.
- Keep a journal.
- Go places you enjoy, such as a theater, museum, restaurant or sports venue.
You may not be religious, but you still should make time to contemplate the human spirit and soul, outside of the material and physical world. You could:
- Go to your religious house of worship.
- Practice yoga.
- Learn mindfulness or meditation.
- Start a gratitude practice.
- Accept help when it’s given.
Just as one day of self-care won’t solve long-term problems, you certainly can’t go from no self-care to implementing every item on this list. Choose to focus on one or two things and develop good habits. Take a good look at your calendar and see what you can cut back so you have time to practice self-care. Use family time to play board games and enjoy each other’s company. Take walks with your family and get exercise together. Let your kids see you practicing self-care. Don’t ignore the warning signs of not taking care of yourself. No one else can give you self-care but yourself.